Mayoral forum, ‘Your City, Your Vote’ campaign helping post-secondary students get informed
EDMONTON – Dozens of post-secondary students came out to MacEwan University Tuesday evening to get educated on where the mayoral frontrunners in the city’s election stand, particularly when it comes to issues affecting students.
“One big issue has always been transportation for us, but when we look at the big issues, to be honest, it’s when students get out of school too – it’s looking at the economy, how they can get involved in the city; it’s who will provide them the best outlook for their future,” explained Cameron McCoy,
President of the Students Association of MacEwan University (SAMU).
MacEwan has joined forces with other post secondary groups in the city for the ‘Your City, Your Vote’ campaign, which hosted Tuesday evening’s forum to which they invited Karen Leibovici, Kerry Diotte, and Don Iveson.
The Your City, Your Vote online campaign is aimed at getting students to the polls this municipal election. Its site helps students figure out what ward they’re in, and also shows candidates’ responses to a questionnaire.
The mayoral forum provided an opportunity for students to get a better feel for the three councillors running for mayor. Before attending it, some students admitted they didn’t really know much about the candidates’ platforms.
“I definitely changed my perspective, so I’m really glad I came,” said Grant MacEwan student Alicia Vecchio.
At the forum, Leibovici spoke about keeping the city’s momentum going.
“To do that we’re going to have to ensure that those transformational projects – the southeast LRT, the arena, Blatchford (the redevelopment project of the City Centre Airport), actually come to fruition. We’ve got to get those shovels in the ground and we’ve got to make sure they’re built on time and on budget.”
Diotte shared a fiscally-cautious view of the airport redevelopment:
“We don’t know what’s in the ground, we don’t know how much it’s truly going to cost to do. It’s nice to talk about sustainable communities, but let’s talk dollars and cents. We don’t know what it’s going to cost – look at Esso station on Whyte Avenue, it took 20 years to clean that up. So how long is it going to take to clean up an airport that’s so polluted? As I say, it’s gotta be on the back burner.”
Iveson offered his vision for the project in response:
“It’s a chance for NAIT and the U of A and anyone else who’s involved in land reclamation to show what we can do here in Edmonton; to show that we are good at cleaning up after ourselves. We’re going to have to do it eventually, we might as well do it and build a globally leading community and research centre there…I think if we do it right it can be our Brooklyn – our little spot outside downtown…that’s affordable.”
Iveson also spoke about how Edmonton is an “underestimated city”, poised to seize its potential, “to be the kind of place that we’ve always imagined it could be.” He also took a hit at the provincial government.
“Our post-secondary institutions and our K-12 system are both under some threat right now because of some short-sighted decisions being made in the province,” he said. “I’ve spoken out about that after the provincial budget and since then. And I will continue to.”
Diotte, meanwhile, talked about some of the financial difficulties students face after graduation, and how his leadership would help.
“I’m the only candidate committed to get taxes and debt under control so you can pay back your student loans or purchase your first home.”
Those post-secondary students planning on casting a ballot this election, won’t have to wait until October 21, because for the first time, Edmonton Elections is offering advance voting at these post-secondary campuses:
- Nait, Building J, NAITrium – October 15, 10 am – 5 pm
- MacEwan University, Downtown Campus, Multipurpose Room in Building 7- October 16, 10 am – 5 pm
- University of Alberta, Alumni Lounge, Students’ Union Building – October 17, 10 am – 5 pm